By Keith Hackett

1st Sep, 2021 | 12:12pm

Hackett shoots down Lineker comments after verdict on Chelsea controversy

Keith Hackett has shot down Gary Lineker’s suggestion about rule changes after Chelsea defender Reece James’ red card against Liverpool.

The former Premier League referee, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, said James had prevented what “we all pay to watch” with his handball.

Lineker, speaking on Saturday’s Match of the Day programme, suggested that the law should change to stop double punishment for offenders – in order to prevent games being “ruined” by red cards.

Chelsea were reduced to ten men in the 43rd minute after James’ clear handball on the line was spotted by VAR.

The Blues’ opponents, Liverpool, dispatched the following penalty but were unable to take advantage of the personnel advantage.

The game at Anfield ended 1-1.

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Hackett maintained that the law, in this instance, is fair and just.

“I don’t think the law should change. The law is clear, and the referee reacted to it,” He told Football Insider‘s Connor Whitley.

“The judgement was that the player made his body shape bigger and tried to knock the ball away.

“The law is specific, in that case it’s a straight red.

“On Match of the Day, they’re trying to suggest that we should maybe be giving a yellow card and a penalty.

“But James has prevented what we all pay to come and watch, a goal.

“Therefore, there is no lighter touch, there is no alternative – the law is the law.”

Lineker accepted that the current law was applied correctly.

However, he suggested that handballs should be treated similarly to the double jeopardy rule for tackles.

James will serve a one-match ban, missing Aston Villa’s Premier League trip to Stamford Bridge.

In other news, Noel Whelan fears that Liverpool’s balance could be upset following a key departure.